It can be intimidating, and even a little frightening, to go to a new church. You might ask, "Will I be noticed?" "Will I know where to go?" "Will I know what to do?" "Will I belong?" We think you will find the East Sunshine church family a warm, genuinely caring community. There are greeters at the doors and in the foyer who will do more than just say "hi"; they will answer questions you might have.
Though it goes without saying, we want to say it anyway: we are not a perfect church, and are constantly learning from Jesus how to live and share a full life. We would be honored to have you come and learn with us, to be our guest any time.
In our worship assembly, church leaders and several our members are involved. The focus is on what we bring to God and each other in worship more than what we "get" out of it. We want God to be honored in all aspects of the assembly
Here is what a typical worship assembly is like, though the assembly is only part of what we do together as church.
Singing and Special Music
Our congregational singing is a cappella
; that is, we sing without musical instruments. It is simple and beautiful. This tradition is a valued part of our heritage in Churches of Christ. We encourage and empower gifted singers in our church family to use their voices to bless the church and to glorify God. A praise team sings with the worship leader to enhance the beautiful sound and to help the congregation sing along with harmony. Special music might include a solo or an ensemble, at times with the use of an instrumental background track
We use a variety
of media in our worship assemblies, because we want every generation
to be able to worship God in meaningful ways. While traditional readings of Scripture, congregational singing, the Lord’s Supper, and sermons are the backbone of our assemblies, we use other media as well. You might experience art, drama, video, testimonies, slide shows, and special music. While our singing as a congregation is without instruments, some of the other media include instrumental music.
Male and Female Participation
While it is non-traditional
in many Churches of Christ for women to participate in public roles in worship, at East Sunshine women participate in a variety of ways that we believe are biblical. We believe that men and women are gifted by the Holy Spirit in a way that builds up the church and brings praise to God. In the New Testament, both men and women
used their gifts in the worship assembly
for these purposes.
Variety of Expression
We have an atmosphere of freedom
in which people express themselves according to the way God is working in their hearts and minds. We may stand while we sing or sometimes kneel. Some may clap their hands in celebration at times, or lift them in acknowledgement of God’s love or power or in dependence on Him for life, while some express themselves more quietly.
We share the Lord’s Supper every Sunday
. Servers pass trays to each aisle. On occasion we may gather at tables located around the auditorium or we may hold the bread and juice and take it together at the same time. We practice open communion
, inviting everyone to share the Supper with us. We believe that this is consistent with the first century church’s practice of hospitality. The disciples learned from Jesus that eating with all
people was an important way to show God’s love and to call them into a new way of life.
The members of our church family have an opportunity to give financially each week in order to support the ministries that the church uses to fulfill our purpose of sharing life in Jesus. Guests, of course, may give if they desire, but are not expected to contribute. We invite guests to fill out a Guest Card and place it in the offering basket.
The Bible is a central aspect of God's presence in our worship. We read Scripture, cite it in our prayers and communion, sing its truths, and talk about it in-depth. The sermon is the main time we spend reading and reflecting on God's word, opening ourselves to hear and obey. The sermon, which lasts about 25-30 minutes, considers how the good news of Jesus forms and transforms our lives today, and challenges us to put the gospel into practice.
We set aside 9:30—10:30am for our main worship assembly. Yet because we want to give adequate time for praise, the teaching of Scripture (about 30 minutes), and public responses, there are times we go beyond 10:30am. We believe the clock is meant to serve us in our assembly, not master us. After the assembly we have Bible classes (available choices by life stage), from 10:45 - 11:40.
We believe it is important for all ages to be together for part of the worship. The children’s ministry team and children age three through fifth grade are dismissed to Kids’ Community
around 10:00am. Another group of volunteers leave the assembly around 10:40. So that we can ensure the children’s security
and make them comfortable
in their unfamiliar setting, guests register children who are infants through 36 months in the age-appropriate classroom. Guests register children 3 through 5th grade at the Welcome Center in the foyer. A cry room (east side of the auditorium) and a room for nursing mothers (west side) are available at any time.
Our dress is mostly casual
. It is not necessary to dress up to be a part of our worship assembly.
Opportunity to Respond
We recognize that people come into the worship time with a variety of situations and needs, like illness, addiction, depression, a strained relationship, unemployment, or a need for confession. Some even want to profess their faith in Jesus and be baptized. At some point in the assembly, usually at the end of the sermon, people are invited to respond to God in a public way. The church and the leadership will be ready to pray and encourage.
If you have any questions, feel free to inquire at the Welcome Center or to approach anyone you saw serve or lead in the assembly. You may also call the church office (889-5455) or click here
to email us.